Authored by Gregory Jantz, Founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE
It is estimated that Binge Eating Disorder affects about 7 million people in the United States each year of all ages, genders and races. Binge eating consists of eating larger than normal amounts of food at least twice a week for a period of six months.
These eaters show a lack of control during a binge episode, just like bulimics, but without the purging afterwards. There is no vomiting, excessive exercise or laxative use. Binge eating is also known as compulsive overeating and produces feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt over the amount consumed.
Binge Eaters Are Not Just Hungry All the Time
Binge eating has no relation to feelings of hunger. Not only will binge eaters eat when not physically hungry, they will also eat past normal signals of being full. Binge eating is marked by rapid and isolated food consumption. Embarrassed by the amount being eaten, binge eaters will choose stealth and speed to accomplish their goal.
Binge eating appears to produce a lack of resolve to undo the “damage” caused by excessive overconsumption. Over time, a binge eater can become more intimate with food than with people, as food is used to give a sensual pleasure. This type of relationship with food brings social isolation, depression, and despair. Many binge or compulsive overeaters have lost hope that they will ever overcome this addiction to food.
The More Weight That’s Gained, the Harder It Is to Get Motivated
As the habitual overeater ages, he or she steadily gains more and more weight. It becomes harder to find the motivation and physical stamina to lose weight. This is complicated by the drop in metabolism common with the onset of middle age.
Many habitual overeaters consign themselves to gaining more and more weight as they head into their later years. The more they eat, the larger they become. The larger they become, the less able they are to physically address their extra weight.
The Often Serious Causes of Binge Eating Disorder
Breaking this cycle requires more than just changing a person’s diet or reducing the number of calories consumed. This is because the root of Binge Eating Disorder exists at a much deeper level. In many situations, this toxic relationship with food is a result of destructive childhood memories of dysfunction, abuse and control.
Consequently, anger, fear, guilt and shame may now be the only emotions they allow themselves to feel. These may be the only ones they’re comfortable with because they don’t feel worthy of other emotions. Binge eaters don’t permit themselves joy because they have too much to feel guilty about.
These eaters don’t attempt love because they have been hurt too badly by rejection. They don’t laugh, because there isn’t any room in their heart for delight.
The Steps Toward Recovery
The roots of a dysfunctional relationship with food go deep into the binge eater’s past. They need to allow that past to come to the surface so they can look back at the experiences of their childhood and begin to put life into perspective.
Somewhere, hidden away in a corner, frightened by all the chaos, is a lonely, hurting child who longs to be rescued and loved. This child is waiting for help to come and make sense of the chaos and heal the pain of the past.
The First Step Is Awareness
When looking around, a binge eater must understand that food will never fill the void in their life or make them feel truly satisfied.
The Second Step Is Acceptance
When a binge eater admits the shambles of their life, and they give up trying to hide the pain they’re feeling.
The Third Step Is Acknowledgement
When a binge eater acknowledges that God has the power to help them overcome their eating disorder and put their life back together.
Once taking these three steps, the binge eater will be ready to start along the road to recovery, and the resources to assist them along this journey will reveal themselves. There is always hope. There are countless stories of people that successfully confronted their Binge Eating Disorder, sought out the necessary tools, and regained a life of health and balance.
“Eating Disorders Among Adults – Binge Eating Disorder.” NIMH RSS. Web. 18 Aug. 2014.
Jantz, Gregory L., and Ann McMurray. Hope, Help, & Healing for Eating Disorders: A Whole-person Approach to Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Disordered Eating. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook, 2010. Print.